It’s rare for the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) to reject a film, but it did just that after reviewing The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence, the sequel to last year’s The Human Centipede: First Sequence (clever titles, I know), one of the most disturbing movies to be released in the past few years. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of watching the gratuitous gore that is the first Human Centipede movie, the plot involves a mad scientist who kidnaps three tourists and turns them into, you guessed it, a human centipede by connecting them through their gastric systems. I’ll let your imagination do the rest.
According to the official press release, the BBFC’s decision to reject the film resulted from the explicit sexual violence so prevalent throughout the movie. It says “the principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims… There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience.”
Tom Six, the film’s director, responds to the rejection in an Empire article by essentially saying that people can decide for themselves whether or not to watch the movie. Samuel Zimmerman with Fangoria, who felt the first movie “didn’t go far enough” (yikes!), said in his report that he hopes the decision is overturned and that the film is also released in the U.S.
Personally, I applaud the BBFC’s decision to reject the film, which means the film cannot legally be supplied anywhere in the UK. Don’t get me wrong; I am all for adults having the right to decide what they do and do not watch, but I am truly afraid of the people who take pleasure in the kind of sexual violence depicted in this film.
Read the BBFC’s full reason for rejecting the film below and let me know your thoughts. Was this a good decision by the BBFC or unnecessary censorship?
WARNING: The text below, which was taken from the BBFC’s official press release, contains descriptions of explicit sexual violence. Read at your own discretion.
SPOILER ALERT: The text below contains film spoilers.
“The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is a sequel to the film The Human Centipede (First Sequence), which was classified ‘18’ uncut for cinema and DVD release by the BBFC in 2010. The first film dealt with a mad doctor who sews together three kidnapped people in order to produce the ‘human centipede’of the title. Although the concept of the film was undoubtedly tasteless and disgusting it was a relatively traditional and conventional horror film and the Board concluded that it was not in breach of our Guidelines at ‘18’. This new work, The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), tells the story of a man who becomes sexually obsessed with a DVD recording of the first film and who imagines putting the ‘centipede’ idea into practice. Unlike the first film, the sequel presents graphic images of sexual violence, forced defecation, and mutilation, and the viewer is invited to witness events from the perspective of the protagonist. Whereas in the first film the ‘centipede’ idea is presented as a revolting medical experiment, with the focus on whether the victims will be able to escape, this sequel presents the ‘centipede’ idea as the object of the protagonist’s depraved sexual fantasy.
“The principal focus of The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) is the sexual arousal of the central character at both the idea and the spectacle of the total degradation, humiliation, mutilation, torture, and murder of his naked victims. Examples of this include a scene early in the film in which he masturbates whilst he watches a DVD of the original Human Centipede film, with sandpaper wrapped around his penis, and a sequence later in the film in which he becomes aroused at the sight of the members of the ‘centipede’ being forced to defecate into one another’s mouths, culminating in sight of the man wrapping barbed wire around his penis and raping the woman at the rear of the ‘centipede’. There is little attempt to portray any of the victims in the film as anything other than objects to be brutalised, degraded and mutilated for the amusement and arousal of the central character, as well as for the pleasure of the audience. There is a strong focus throughout on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure. It is the Board’s conclusion that the explicit presentation of the central character’s obsessive sexually violent fantasies is in breach of its Classification Guidelines and poses a real, as opposed to a fanciful, risk that harm is likely to be caused to potential viewers.
“David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said: ‘It is the Board’s carefully considered view that to issue a certificate to this work, even if confined to adults, would be inconsistent with the Board’s Guidelines, would risk potential harm within the terms of the VRA, and would be unacceptable to the public. The Board also seeks to avoid classifying material that may be in breach of the Obscene Publications Acts 1959 and 1964 (OPA) or any other relevant legislation. The OPA prohibits the publication of works that have a tendency to deprave or corrupt a significant proportion of those likely to see them. In order to avoid classifying potentially obscene material, the Board engages in regular discussions with the relevant enforcement agencies, including the CPS, the police, and the Ministry of Justice. It is the Board’s view that there is a genuine risk that this video work,The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), may be considered obscene within the terms of the OPA, for the reasons given above.
“’The Board considered whether its concerns could be dealt with through cuts. However, given that the unacceptable content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification.’”